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Good Shepherd’s Clinic will host open house event Thursday

Staff report
On Thursday, 74 free clinics across North Carolina, including Good Shepherd’s Clinic in Salisbury, will open their doors to the community.
The N. C. Association of Free Clinics, in partnership with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, is sponsoring the statewide open house event to educate the community about the health care services free clinics provide to the uninsured and “other vulnerable populations.”
The Good Shepherd’s Clinic will open early Thursday ó from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ó to give tours and answer questions of community members, civic leaders and government officials.
Founded 14 years ago, the Salisbury free clinic currently sees patients in space provided by First Baptist Church in its activity center (the old YMCA building) across North Fulton Street.
In 2007, Good Shepherd’s volunteer staff recorded 1,057 patient contacts and provided $332,072 in pharmacy services.
The Good Shepherd’s Clinic opens once a week ó every Thursday at 6 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. The clinic doesn’t close until the staff has seen all patients.
“One of our core values as a free clinic is that cost should not prevent people in our community from receiving health care,” said Delores Boone and Kathy Eagle, co-directors of The Good Shepherd’s Clinic. “The services we provide are high-quality and are having an immediate and direct impact on our community.
“Without the dedication of our volunteers, some people would have nowhere else to turn for health care.”
Free clinics are private, nonprofit, community-based organizations that provide health care access to North Carolinians through the use of volunteer health care professionals and partnerships with other health providers.
North Carolina’s free clinics provide medical and dental care, as well as prescription medications for low-income, uninsured people in 79 counties.
According to the Free Clinic Association, during 2006, more that $67 million worth of health care services were delivered at no charge to uninsured patients totaling more than 320,000 visits.
The services were provided by 7,800 health care professionals and other community volunteers donating more than 259,000 hours of service.
“North Carolina’s free clinics are bridging the gap in health care access for the uninsured,” said Mike Darrow, executive director of the association, said. “We don’t claim to be the only answer but rather an important part of the solution to increasing access to health care for all North Carolinians.”
The statewide open house coincides with national Cover the Uninsured Week activities, which are coordinated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
North Carolina has the largest association of free clinics in the nation. According to the U.S. census, in 2006, North Carolina was home to nearly 1.6 million uninsured people.
For information concerning medical assistance, contact Delores Boone or Kathy Eagle at the clinic on Thursdays, 704-636-7200.

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